1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
Although foreign investment is encouraged in virtually all the sectors of the Gambian economy, through the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), eight areas are also identified as “priority sectors” which attract a Special Investment Certificate (SIC) that provides a number of incentives, including duty waivers and tax holidays. There are no laws or practices in The Gambia that discriminate against foreign investors, including U.S. investors.
The Gambia Investment & Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) is the national agency established responsible for the promotion and facilitation of private sector investments into The Gambia.
In offering investor–facilitation services, the Agency acts as investors’ first point of contact provides information on relevant procedures for setting up a business and helps form the necessary network of contacts in The Gambia for successful business operations.
GIEPA offers the following services:
- Investment Generation
- Investment Facilitation
- Business Development Services
- Export Development
- Support to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
- Image Building & Branding; and
- Policy Advocacy
To maintain dialogue with investors, The Gambia Competitiveness Improvement Forum was created as part of the 2015 GIEPA Act, which hosts sector-based forums to maintain dialogue with investors. In 2017, GIEPA hosted the International Agriculture Investment Forum to promote agriculture and market-oriented agricultural production within the farming community.
Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
Foreign and domestic private entities have a right to own business enterprises and engage in in all forms of remunerative activities in The Gambia. There are no limits on foreign ownership or control of businesses except in the operations of defense industries, which are closed to all private sector participation, irrespective of nationality. Apart from Defense related activities, there are no sector-specific restrictions, limitations, or requirements were legally applied to foreign ownership and control.
Foreign investors are not denied national treatment (i.e. the same treatment as domestic firms) or MFN treatment (i.e. the same treatment as the most favored foreign investor) in any sector.
There is no mandatory screening of foreign direct investment, but such screening may be conducted if there is suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing. Investors subjected to such a screening may be asked for business registration documents and bank statements. As part of the country’s privatization program, foreign investors are treated equal to local investors
Other Investment Policy Reviews
The Gambia Investment and Export Proportion (GIEPA) assists foreign investors to establish businesses in The Gambia. GIEPA is mandated to facilitate the establishment, operation, and development of businesses in The Gambia. According to the World Bank Doing Business indicators, The Gambia is ranked 149 for Starting a Business out of 190 countries.
According to the 2019 Doing Business report, it takes six procedures and, on average, over 1-2 days to start a business in the country. These procedures include registering a unique company name, notarizing company status, obtaining a tax identification number (TIN), registering employees with the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, registering with the Commercial Registry and obtaining an operational license. While this can be done by anyone in theory, a local attorney who is familiar with the system can facilitate the process. In 2010, a Single Window Business Registration Desk was established at the Ministry of Justice. This initiative has reduced the number of days it takes to register a business in the country to one day.
The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry facilitate foreign investment in The Gambia. Their mandate includes export promotion and support for small and micro enterprise (SME) development. There are no set restrictions to domestic investors investing abroad.
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
No data available.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
No data available.